Anonymous
Anonymous asked in Society & CultureReligion & Spirituality · 1 decade ago

" The road to hell is paved with good intentions"?

Does anyone know who said this/where it is from?

Even though in my faith there is no hell, I really do like this phrase and what it seems to suggest.

Your thoughts?

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  • 1 decade ago
    Best Answer

    In Jewish thought, good intentions are given a LOT of credit. Here's a little summary that I thought might be useful here:

    (from http://www.torah.org/qanda/seequanda.php?id=785)

    "The Basics of Judaism: Basic Values and Morality: Good Intentions:

    Is there a reward for good intentions?

    Here are three Talmudic sources about the importance of our intentions: Berachos 5b: People who do what they can, and have good intentions, are rewarded. Shabbos 63a: If someone intends to perform a commandment, but was unable to do it, he is regarded as if he had done it. (This is derived from the phrase "those who think of His Name" in Malachi 3:16.) Nazir 23b: A sin performed with good intentions is as great as a good deed performed without good intentions. "

    One popular quote you can hear around a lot today is "Action follows thought." So if someone has the intention to do good, it is most likely that he or she will choose actions that will do good. When you factor in that "G.d is in charge" then we can understand that not everything is in our control. We may mean to do something good but when it doesn't pan out the way we meant it to, it's because G.d is in charge.

    We're still meant to do good, think good, and be good as best we can. That road to hell thing is NOT Jewish thought.

    Cheers!

  • 1 decade ago

    Although many people believe that Samuel Johnson said "The road to hell is paved with good intentions," he shouldn't get credit for this one.

    Johnson said something close, but he was following in others' footsteps. In Boswell's Life of Johnson, in an entry marked April 16, 1775, Boswell quotes Johnson as saying (on some other occasion), "Hell is paved with good intentions." Note, no prefatory "the road to..." Boswell's editor, Malone, added a footnote indicating this is a 'proverbial sentence,' and quoting an earlier 1651 source (yet still not in the common wording).

    Robert Wilson, in the newsgroup alt.quotations, provided two other sources prior to Johnson. John Ray, in 1670, cited as a proverb "Hell is paved with good intentions." Even earlier than that, it's been attributed to Saint Bernard of Clairvaux (1091-1153), as "Hell is full of good intentions or desires." Just how it got to the road to Hell being paved this way, and not Hell itself, I don't know.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    lol Personally, I don't see what is wrong with good intentions. It's just the applications are sometimes more harmful than helpful. I just can't understand why. Good coming from a good heart should produce good. What goes wrong when it doesn't and makes your situation worse? I've pondered this one all my life. I know I've had many good intentions and then situations took control of the reigns. I meant what I said, yet was prevented from following through. I always wonder about this. lol Nothing personal, but I hate that saying!

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Saint Bernard of Clairvaux (1091-1153), "Hell is full of good intentions or desires."

    There have been many variants of the thought since, but none as early as Bernard's.

    I like the phrase because it warns us of always considering the results of our good intentions.

    I don't believe in a hell also, but do understand that the best intentions don't ammount to anything, its the results that count.

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  • 1 decade ago

    It comes from a misquote of Samuel Johnson, who said Hell is paved with good intentions. 'The road to' got added by some unknown source over the years.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Since the road to hell is paved with good intentions, the road to heaven must be filled with mean pricks like me.

  • 1 decade ago

    Saint Bernard of Clairvaux (1091-1153), "Hell is full of good intentions or desires."

    John Ray, in 1670, cited as a proverb "Hell is paved with good intentions."

    For me, as a Christian, it holds a lot of truth that is going to disappoint many.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    I think the road to hell is off exit 29 on interstate 95N going toward DC.

  • 1 decade ago

    That has been around since Great Grandma and prob. beyond. Basically it is saying: If you intend to do good, do so, but if you intend to do good and instead turn around and to bad it is just that an intention but not a deed, and doesn't count as good.

    It is like you see someone who drops a wallet, or their money. You pick it up and say you want to give it back then turn around and spend the money for something you want and never return what isn't yours. Yeah, you may never see the person again, but that wasn't your money/wallet in the first place and the excuse of I intended to return it but... is just that an excuse.

    Hope that helps.

  • 1 decade ago

    Proverbial - late sixteenth century. Often wrongly attributed to Samuel Johnson.

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